Researchers wave goodbye to publisher

The editorial boards of several international linguistic journals are waving goodbye to their publishers and publishing open access instead. The RUG supports this initiative.

What is unusual is that it is not new journals making the change but rather existing journals that are moving to a new publication form, editorial board and all. ‘We have not been satisfied with the current way of publishing for some time and we want to switch to a more sustainable model’, says spokesperson Johan Rooryck from the LingOA initiative.

The editorial boards that have joined the initiative will publish at Ubiquity Press, a publisher that observes the terms and conditions of Fair Open Access. This means that authors keep the rights to their work and that the costs of processing are proportional to the work provided.


The journals LabPhon and the Journal of Portuguese Linguistics have already switched, and two others – the highly-ranked Lingua and the Journal of Greek Linguistics – are in negotiations with their publisher. In the event that the publisher agrees to go ahead with Fair Open Access, the journals will stay with them. ‘We hope to convince the publisher Elsevier that this is a reasonable and good choice’, says Rooryck.

The initiative has been made possible by the financial guarantee of six universities, including the RUG, and a subsidy from the research financer NWO. This arrangement makes it possible for the editors to pay for the transition. Furthermore, there is cooperation with the Open Library of the Humanities (OLH). All of this guarantees that the journals will remain in existence after the first five years.


Rooryck is not afraid that the quality or reputation of the journals will suffer. ‘The quality is not dependent on the publisher’, he says pointedly, ‘but on the editorial board. That is why is it is so important that the current editors make this change.’

If the name of a journal has to be changed because it belongs to the publisher, that should not be too much of a problem, he thinks.

It is not only the currently mentioned journals, either. ‘Several editorial boards are considering it’, says Rooryck. Given that OLH is guaranteeing continuity, he thinks it is safer to switch to open access.

The movement to open access is gaining momentum, particularly because the negotiations with the important publisher Elsevier remain unyielding.